The songstress owns two dogs, Nini, a Yorkshire terrier and Tutu, a Shih Tzu. Word on the street is both were gifts from a certain gentleman whose name rhymes with Shelly; but you didn’t hear that from us. Of their personalities, Ashanti admits, “[I]f Nini was a celebrity, she would be a bad girl…someone with controversy who thinks they’re bigger than they are…[but] Tutu is calm and reserved and laid back…[he’s like] Denzel!”
Eventually, after much convincing, we got Ashanti talking about the “special friend” himself, Nelly. If the tough rapper were a breed of dog, which would he be? Ashanti muses, “What’s the feisty, macho kind of dog? Maybe a bull dog, Rottweiler, pitt? One of those three.”
Since this is the travel issue, we were curious how Nini and Tutu travel when they accompany their musical mother. Ashanti explained, “They went to LA with me a few times, they had their own beds and bowls at the Beverly Hills Hotel…[T]hey’re good, you know they get along with a lot of people, they don’t tear up the room too much…they definitely draw a lot of attention. A lot of people want to come and pet them and ask their names so it’s fun.”
In their travels Nini and Tutu have rubbed elbows with many of the music world’s elite such as Mariah Carey, Ciara, Keyshia Cole and Leona Lewis. But these pop star pups take it all in stride, sitting leisurely in “Bark Obama” Tees, they lounged through our interview like old pros. Ashanti’s dogs keep it diva and drama free; there’s nothing foolish about this happy, yappy family.
By Max Goodman